Knowledge that one’s individual rights, including property rights (understood such that costs are internalized), are secure and will remain so is essential for the investments that make free societies so innovative and productive.
A free society ensures profits are justly earned based on value creation, rather than access to political power or by imposing unjust costs on others.
In fulfilling its appropriate role, the government should protect against violations of our persons and property, enforce contracts and legal decisions, protect against fraud and significant direct negative externalities, and defend the country’s territorial integrity from foreign aggression.
In a free society, government is limited to those activities for which coercion works better than voluntary cooperation and competition, consistent with individual rights. It also is constrained by the rule of law under which every individual and entity is treated equally.
Individual Rights IN PRACTICE
Individual Rights READINGS
The Framework for a Free Society is not a source of new concepts; rather, it is the recognition of the work of thinkers throughout history. The development of the Framework is grounded in a rich literature of both those texts that have advanced these ideas and those that have provided a contrasting world view. The following are some of the works that influenced the development of the Framework for a Free Society:
Adams, John Quincy. An Address, Delivered at the Request of the Committee of Arrangements for Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence, at the City of Washington on the Fourth of July 1821, upon the Reading of the Declaration of Independence. Cambridge: Hilliard and Metcalf, 1821. [Accessed from the University of Missouri.]
Bastiat, Frédéric. The Law. London: The Institute of Economic Affairs, 2001.
Hayek, Friedrich A. Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Volume 1: Rules and Order. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982. [Accessed from Portal Libertarianismo.]
Higgs, Robert. Crisis and Leviathan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. [Book review accessed from the Foundation for Economic Education.]
Locke, John. Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690. [Accessed from The University of Adelaide Library.]
Mises, Ludwig von. Bureaucracy. Yale University Press, 1944. [Accessed from the Online Library of Liberty.]
Nozick, Robert. “Distributive Justice.” In Anarchy, State, and Utopia, 149-231. New York: Basic Books, 1974. [Accessed from Iowa State University.]
Washington, George. “The Farewell Address of President George Washington.” 1796. [Accessed from The University of Oklahoma.]